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How Michael Damian’s Time On Y&R Informed His Directing Jen Lilley In A Paris Christmas Waltz

Michael Damian reunites stars from ATWT and DAYS for A Paris Christmas Waltz.

michael damian jen lilley paris in christmasMichael Damian steps behind the lens to tell a romantic holiday tale.

Danny Romalotti, played by Michael Damian, is spending more time in Genoa City on The Young and the Restless these days. However, the actor spent time earlier this year with Days of our Lives alum Jen Lilley when he directed the romantic movie A Paris Christmas Waltz.

Michael Damian: Christmas in Paris

Lilley, who recently reprised her role as Theresa on DAYS for Victor’s memorial, plays Emma Harris, a dancer, who is captivated by retired dancer Leo Monroe (Matthew Morrison). However, after Emma comes into his life, Leo finds an opportunity to perform again in Paris, and he invites her to go along with him — hence, the film’s title, A Paris Christmas Waltz.

In addition to a beautiful love story and entertaining dance numbers, viewers will be treated to all the sights of Paris. “We shot on the Pont Alexandre bridge, in front of the Eiffel Tower, the Hotel Duquesne, the Champs-Élysées, the Champs…there’s a whole driving sequence,” Damian previews. “We shot things that most people don’t, including [The Gros-Horloge], which is the oldest clock in Paris. We wanted people who haven’t traveled there or who have yet to travel there to be able to see Paris and really immerse themselves in the city.”

When Emma Met Leo

At the heart of the movie is a love story. Emma was captivated by Leo’s dance performance, but she doesn’t see him again for quite some time. “Emma is stuck,” sets up Damian. “She needs something in her life. She’s working super hard as an accountant but doesn’t really have a social life. After seeing Leo dance in the arms of a beautiful princess, she was inspired to take some dancing lessons.”

A year later, Emma and Leo bump into one another. They see each other again later at a holiday mingling event called a “Jingle Mingle.” There, they reconnect. “Leo has lost his joy and spark for dance,” explains Damian, after the performer suffers a personal heartbreak with his dance partner. Emma enters Leo’s life and renews his love of dance. “He invites her to dance [with him in a competition]. There’s something that happens when Leo and Emma dance together. This is about their personal journey.”

Michael Damian: The Falcon Crest Connection

The couple’s dance isn’t just for themselves but for Leo’s mentor, Henry, played by Paul Freeman (Raiders of the Lost Ark; ex-Gustav Riebmann, Falcon Crest). “Henry’s had a health scare,” Damian says. “This could be his last choreographed piece. He wants Leo to perform it and help get him out of his funk.”

Damian says A Paris Christmas Waltz is a movie the whole family can enjoy. “There’s romance, there’s dance…it’s about coming together and enjoying the beautiful Christmas season and what the beautiful city of Paris has to offer,” he says.

The Perfect Pair

Damian can’t imagine anyone else in the roles of Emma and Leo. “We’d been talking to Jen about doing something, and my wife, Janeen [Damian, who also directed the film and wrote the musical number in the movie], and I are big fans of Glee,” he shares. “There’s a dance in the movie that’s an homage to MGM musical numbers. We have [Jen and Matthew] on the streets of Paris doing something fun.”

Damian credits his time as Y&R’s Danny, which he’s still enjoying, as a big influence on his role as a filmmaker. “I learned so much about drama and great writing through Bill Bell [Y&R’s creator],” the actor/director/singer says. “He weaved stories seamlessly. All those experiences come together for this film. It’s about the characters, emotions, and dance.”

A Paris Christmas Waltz, Sunday, November 19 at 8 p.m. (7 p.m. central), Great American Family.

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